Music and sound effects are key to a great gaming experience. Gaming headsets are a little more specialized than typical headphones and having the right pair of gaming headphones can help improve your overall time spent gaming. The best gaming headphones are comfortable, sound good, and have a decent microphone. They also usually have dedicated software support, lots of active features, and have customization options. However, specialized gaming headsets can be quite bulky and the wireless models are often limited by the range of their transmitter. If you play single player games exclusively and don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option too.
So far, we've reviewed over 350 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset for PC and PS4 that we’ve tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These headphones sound impressive and come with a great wireless transmitter for low-latency gaming. They can also mix audio from a Bluetooth source at the same time, which is great if you like to chat on your phone while gaming. The wireless transmitter has AUX, USB, and optical inputs for compatibility with almost all home theatre setups and even functions as a battery charging station.
Unfortunately, they aren’t as customizable as the Arctis Pro GameDAC — their EQ has fewer bands, and they don’t provide the same level of microphone control. They’re also pretty expensive, so you may want to consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition if you like their design but don’t need Bluetooth or the base transmitter.
If you like to fine-tune your gaming headphones your way, get the Logitech G933. They don’t feel as durable as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and their microphone doesn’t perform as well, but they provide more customization options via the Logitech G Hub, which is one of the most comprehensive and complete apps we’ve seen to date. The newer Logitech G935 sound better out-of-the-box, but their provided audio cable doesn’t come with an in-line remote for mobile use on-the-go.
Get the SteelSeries if you prefer a more feature-packed, premium design, but if customization is what matters most for you then you’ll want to go for the Logitech G933.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested so far is the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro 2019. It's available in a dedicated variant for either the Xbox One or the PS4 and both also work on PC. The headphones feel very well-built and are comfortable enough for your longest gaming sessions. They come with Astro's MixAmp Pro TR which is a great USB dock that provides a good number of inputs and features, like channel mixing and virtual surround sound. They sound a bit more open than most gaming headphones we've reviewed thanks to their open-back design and they have an excellent boom microphone.
By default, their treble performance is okay-at-best and they lack quite a bit of detail and presence on dialog or vocals. Thankfully, you can adjust the way they sound in the Astro Command Center and assign your favorite EQ presets directly to the MixAmp. Their bulky, gamer-centric design won't be for everyone, but if you're looking for premium wired gaming headphones that you can get for either the Xbox One or the PS4, then the A40 are a great choice.
If you want something you can customize on-the-fly, then get the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC. The headphones don't have the best frequency response consistency and the GameDAC isn't compatible with the Xbox One, but it has a 10-band EQ built right in so you can easily tweak the way they sound on PC or PS4. The open-back Astro A40 2019 sound more consistent and are available with an Xbox One-compatible MixAmp, but don't provide as many customization options.
If you need Xbox One compatibility and prefer open-backs, then get the Astros, but if you're a PC or a PS4 gamer who wants something more customizable, then you'll want the SteelSeries.
If you’re looking for gaming headphones that you can also use with your smartphone or tablet, then get the Logitech G433. They don't support channel mixing like the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp 2019, but they're more versatile thanks to all the accessories they come with, like a USB DAC for customization with the Logitech G Hub software, a Y-splitter, as well as two audio cables: one for PC or console gaming and one for casual use with your mobile devices. They feel a little cheaply made, but have extra earcup padding, which is nice. If you're into multiplayer gaming and constantly need to adjust the levels of your chat and gameplay, you'll want the A40, but if you're looking for something more versatile that's also suitable for everyday use, then get the G433.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One we’ve tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. These headphones connect directly to your Xbox One console without using additional adapters or dongles, which is very convenient. Like all the headphones we’ve tested in the Arctis lineup so far, they sound very good, have a great retractable boom microphone, and are very comfortable. Their 28-hour battery is excellent and they’re also Bluetooth compatible, so you can mix audio from your smartphone into the headphones, like with the Arctis Pro Wireless.
Like the Arctis Pro GameDAC, they have poor frequency response consistency, so you may find they sound a bit different than we measured. While you can technically EQ the way these headphones sound with the SteelSeries Engine on PC, you won’t be able to hear the live EQ preview unless your PC supports Xbox Wireless or you have an adapter, which is disappointing. Since they’re intended to be directly paired with your Xbox One, they’re also not a great choice for home theatre systems set up around a receiver. That said, if an Xbox Wireless connection is what you’re after, then the Arctis 9X are a solid choice.
If you want a headset that you can set up with your home theater system to also watch movies and TV with, get the Astro A50 Wireless. Their battery doesn’t last as long as that of the SteelSeries Arctis 9X, but they come with an excellent docking station that provides various connectivity options and can even charge the headphones. They sound great and have a very good microphone for online gaming. If you like having Bluetooth and prefer being able to connect directly to your Xbox, you’ll want to get the Arctis 9X, but if you need an Xbox One-compatible home theatre headset with better ergonomics, you can’t beat the Astro A50.
The best budget gaming headset we’ve tested so far is the Corsair HS60. These comfortable gaming headphones feel very well-built for the price, with a sleek wired design and sturdy metal design. They have a well-balanced sound, which is great not only for gaming but also if you like to just listen to music casually from time to time too. You can also customize the way they sound on PC with the Corsair iCUE software, which is great for budget headphones.
Their detachable boom microphone provides added versatility, but they don’t come with an in-line mic so you won’t be able to take calls with them on your smartphone. Their mic also doesn’t perform as well as that of HyperX Stinger. However, they don’t look or feel as premium as the Corsair for about the same price. If you like the fit and sound of the HS60 but want wireless headphones and are willing to stretch your budget a bit, consider the wireless Corsair HS70, but they can’t be used wired so they’re a bit less versatile than the HS60.
If you play a lot of online multiplayer games and need something with a great mic so everyone can hear you clearly, then get the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They don't feel as durable as the Corsair HS60 but their boom mic performs significantly better overall and they also sound very good. Unfortunately, they don't have a companion software which would give you access to customization options, but on the upside, their standard 1/8" TRRS connection ensures audio and microphone compatibility with all major gaming systems. Get the Corsair if you're looking for a more premium-feeling budget gaming headset that you can customize on PC, but if mic quality is your top priority, you'll want to go for the HyperX.
If you prefer the compact format of earphones even while gaming, then the best earbuds for gaming that we’ve tested so far are the 1More Triple Driver. We haven’t yet tested any dedicated gaming earbuds, but they perform well enough overall to be a decent choice for gamers looking for something more discreet than a bulky over-ear gaming headset. They can be plugged into any console controller and their balanced sound makes them suitable not only for video games but also listening to music or podcasts.
Although their in-line microphone has good recording quality in quiet environments, it doesn’t fare as well in noisier situations. They also don’t isolate as much noise as other in-ear headphones we’ve tested, so they’re best used in a quiet room. That said, they come with a couple of foam tip options that might provide better isolation performance. Overall, they’re decent earbuds for gaming, especially if you prefer something you can use casually as well.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.